How science is transforming the sport of MMA fighting
By Matthew ShaerPosted 08.27.2012 at 12:49 pm 4 Comments
Greg Jackson, the single most successful trainer in the multi-billion-dollar sport of professional mixed martial arts fighting, works out of a musty old gym in Albuquerque, New Mexico, not far from the base of the Sandia Mountains. On a recent morning, the 38-year-old Jackson, who has the cauliflowered ears and bulbous nose of a career fighter, watched two of his students square off inside the chain-link walls of a blood-splattered ring called the Octagon.
If you've seen the board-breaking power of a professional martial artist and thought it looked superhuman, don't worry: for a while now science couldn't fully explain it, either. The punches delivered by a top-notch fighter are so tough that muscle strength alone can't account for them. But researchers from Imperial College London and University College London have discovered that a unique brain structure could be what gives experts fists of fury.